Framework for Long-Term, Whole-System, Equity-Based Reflection

FLOWER is an interactive community engagement tool about multisolving. FLOWER helps a group explore the co-benefits a project might produce. It prompts some of the most important questions about multisolving. Who would need to be involved? How do we design for co-benefits? How do we ensure burdens and benefits are shared equitably?

FLOWER is a flexible tool which can be adapted to many contexts. It can be either a pencil and paper exercise or an online one. It can be used individually, in small groups, or with a large group.

FLOWER includes eight of the most important co-benefits we see in multisolving projects. The benefits that are present in a project are colored in, and the other benefits are left blank. In the center of a FLOWER diagram is “connection.” Whenever people, communities, and nature grow more connected, the center of the diagram is shaded. The other benefits include climate protection, health, jobs, and more. Participants in a FLOWER exercise also explore how each co-benefit could be shared equitably.

The materials below will help you integrate FLOWER into your teaching and community building:




That opened a new front of research at Climate Interactive: what else would improve around the world if countries truly transitioned away from fossil fuels? From improvements in air quality to energy security we documented many co-benefits of climate action, and incorporated some of them into Climate Interactive’s well known computer simulation, En-ROADS.

But, the multiple benefits of actions to protect the climate remain mostly theoretical without ways of overcoming the obstacles to multisolving. That’s why, from the beginning of our work we have collaborated with others to understand the bright spots of multisolving around the world and to pilot multisolving approaches. First in Milwaukee in partnership with the Milwuakee Metropolitan Sewerage District and then in Atlanta, with Partnership for Southern Equity, we began to see what was possible by bringing the different parts of a system together in pursuit of actions and investments that lifted up many goals at once.

From this action research, along with a series of case studies of multisolving projects, we began to see attitudes and approaches that are in common across a wide diversity of multisolving projects, a topic we wrote about in Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Then came 2020. Pandemic. Escalating climate change impacts. Dire warnings about biodiversity loss. And more and more folks connecting the dots between each of these issues and structural inequity. Invitations to write, speak, and teach about multisolving came fast and furious and with it the possibility that what we’ve learned from multisolving bright spots could help support leaders around the world to respond to crises with multisolving. That spark led to the launch of the Multisolving Institute and our mission of supporting leaders as they pursue multisolving approaches